Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Frolova-Walker, Marina. “A Ukrainian Tune in Medieval France: Perceptions of Nationalism and Local Color in Russian Opera.” 19th-Century Music 35 (Fall 2011): 115-31.

There is no straightforward way to assign operas as “nationalist” or “non-nationalist” when considering the categorization of Russian operas, and methods that attempt to do so are unreliable or based on mystification. Instead, the older concept of “local color” should be revived in scholarly discourse. There are six categories of assigning Russianness in music: by intention, by reception, by interpretation, by association, by blood or culture, or by school. Assigning Russianness by culture or by school can lead to conflicting claims about many operas as well as scholarly misconceptions. An example of this is Rosa Newmarch’s misreading of the Minstrel’s Song from Tchaikovsky’s Maid of Orleans as a Ukrainian tune that would be incongruous to the French setting, rather than the French song it actually is. To nineteenth-century Russian opera composers like Rimsky-Korsakov, the concept of local color was both familiar and important to the construction of their work. Operas taking place outside of Russia or dealing with universal themes often avoided Russian coloring. Tchaikovsky in particular developed a sophisticated sense of period coloring in The Queen of Spades, quoting appropriate French and Russian anthems. Approaching Russian opera through the lens of local color, disparate “nationalist,” “non-nationalist,” and “symbolist” operas can be compared side-by-side.

Works: Tchaikovsky: The Maid of Orleans (117-18), The Queen of Spades (129)

Sources: Anonymous: Les belles amourettes (117-18); André Grétry: Richard Coeur-de-lion (129); Eustache de Caurroy: Vive le Roi Henri IV (129); Osip Kozlovsky: Grom pobedy razdavaysya (129)

Index Classifications: 1800s, 1900s

Contributed by: Matthew Van Vleet

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Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
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